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Contractors World International
2012 Vol 3 No 5
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Terex CC 2800-1 crawler crane  -Space Shuttle

Terex give lift to space shuttles

For the Space Shuttle Discovery, it was a journey of nearly 150 million miles that ended at Washington Dulles International Airport. Discovery’s maiden voyage was made on August 30, 1984, and it flew 39 successful missions into space over its 27 plus years of service. It was the most travelled and storied of all the space shuttles in NASA’s fleet.

On April 17, 2012 Discovery made its final voyage atop its Boeing 747 Shuttle Aircraft Carrier (SAC) with much fanfare from onlookers and local, national and international media.

Battled and scorched from dozens of space missions, Discovery was destined to replace the pristine Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Smithsonian Institution . Before being towed from Dulles to its final exhibit place, Discovery had to be hoisted from its carrier and its landing gear lowered into place one final time. This jobs fell to New Jersey based J. F. Lomma, Inc. and a Terex CC 2800-1 crawler crane began.

Under the cover of night in the late evening hours of April 19, 2012 and slipping into the early morning hours of April 20, Lomma and the United Space Alliance work crews methodically hoisted the 89,085 kg shuttle off of the 747 SAC.

When the 747 SAC transports the space shuttle to a place other than a space center, there is a need for crane and rigging equipment. “These picks do not happen often, since NASA already has a shuttle removal method in place at each space center,” explains Josh Barnett, field service representative for Terex Cranes.

In the early 1990s, NASA had the rare need to hoist a shuttle from the 747 SA. “A Demag 2800 crawler crane was used in that project as the primary crane,” mentions Jim Creek, Terex Cranes’ senior product manager for crawler cranes – North America. “NASA has a history of successful lifts with this crane.”

he CC 2800-1 crawler crane was equipped with a 53.9 m main boom and 29.9 m Superlift mast. Lomma used 159,665 kg of main counterweight with no central ballasts   The CC2800-1 offers a 600 tonne capacity at a 10 m radius, more than enough to handle Discovery’s weight. It features a maximum 60 m main boom length and a variable 30.5 m radius Superlift attachment to boost lift capacities.

Lomma was awarded the shuttle project. It consisted of not one but two shuttle hoists. The first lifted the Space Shuttle Discovery off of the 747 SAC for the shuttle’s eventual spot at the Smithsonian. The second loaded the Space Shuttle Enterprise onto the carrier, so it could be flown to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. It took Lomma nearly three months to prepare for and arrange the pick.

Safety and Precision

When it came time for the shuttle pick, there was very little left to question. The CC 2800-1 crawler crane was equipped with a 53.9 m main boom and 29.9 m Superlift mast. Lomma used 159,665 kg of main counterweight with no central ballasts. Superlift counterweight of 124,738 kg was added to the tray 15.2 m from the crane base.

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Page updated: June 2012



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